Updated: May 30, 2020
Have you ever wanted to try yoga but were too intimidated, scared, or embarrassed?
You're not alone. Just type "fears about starting yoga" into a search engine, and you'll find dozens of articles, websites, and YouTube videos addressing the topic. More than 35 million Americans practice yoga (15% of the population), and 34% or nearly 80 million Americans say they plan to try yoga within the next year(1). However, many people have accumulated more excuses than willpower.
Elephant Journal published a list of common reasons why people talk themselves out of trying yoga. The excuses range from "I'm not flexible" enough and "I'm going to fart in class" to "everyone else will be better than me" and "it's too hard."
Abby Mudd, who teaches Beginner's Yoga at Holly's Pilates Village, recently wrote a message to her friends on Facebook and Instagram.
"I encourage all of my beginner or newish folks out there to release that block of fear and step into feeling your body, breath, and mind," Abby wrote. "If you think that you're too 'tight' to do yoga, well, think of it this way: saying you're too tight or not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you're too dirty to take a bath. Let it sink in, my friends; don't be afraid. Good things come when you release, open, and renew."
Enjoy the Benefits of Yoga
Research shows that yoga literally has the capacity to change your brain. The science behind yoga demonstrates evidence of many psycho-physiological benefits, including: increased resilience to stress; improved flexibility, balance, stamina, and strength; reduction in depression and negative thoughts; and greater mind-body awareness. These benefits can change behaviors, enhancing life's meaning and purpose:
Many people in the U.S. practice yoga for the way it tones and strengthens the body. Yoga can indeed lead to profound positive changes in your posture, skin tone, and overall vitality. Yet, asana (Sanskrit for posture) is only one of the eight limbs of yoga.
Consider, for example, that learning to command physical control of the body is a skill developed by high-achieving athletes, actors, and others with superb physiques. However, few of these people will also achieve the deeper harmony of the body, mind, and spirit that yoga offers to those willing to explore its depths.
"Though the yogi does not underrate his body, he does not merely think of its perfection, but of the senses, mind, intellect, and soul," B.K.S. Iyengar writes in Light on Yoga, one of the most respected texts in modern yoga.
Sitting in stillness, exploring the power of the breath to heal, cultivating consciousness and compassion, and learning to let go of every falsehood you may have believed about yourself over time—these are also aspects of a regular yoga practice.
How do you start?
"The secrets of yoga lie in the doing of it," Erich Schiffman writes in Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness.
When do you start?
How about today? Check out the Yoga classes at Holly's Pilates Village in Louisville Kentucky.
1. "60 INTERESTING FINDINGS ABOUT YOGA IN AMERICA IN 2016" Seattle Yoga News.